A firm fires an employee for the sole reason (say) that she refused to murder the CEO of the firm's main rival. May a jury consider, in deciding whether to award the employee punitive damages, the firm's murderous motive that resulted in the firing?
No, the Supreme Court of Texas held today. No matter how egregiously bad the reasons for the employee's discharge, the unanimous court ruled, only the potential harm to the employee matters. Safeshred, Inc. v. Martinez, No. 10-426 (Tex. Apr. 20, 2012) (reversing jury punitive damages award of $200,000 for firing of employee who refused to drive truck whose overload endangered driver and other motorists).